Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids / 18.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_50320" align="alignleft" width="150"]Guanmin Chen MD PhD MPH Senior Biostatistician Research Facilitation, Alberta Health Services Adjunct Research Assistant Professor University of Calgary Dr. Chen[/caption] Guanmin Chen MD PhD MPH Senior Biostatistician Research Facilitation, Alberta Health Services Adjunct Research Assistant Professor University of Calgary  Co-authors: Guanmin Chen, PhD, MD, MPH, Megan S. Farris, MSc, Tara Cowling, MA, MSc, Stephen M. Colgan, PhD, Pin Xiang, PharmD, Louisa Pericleous, PhD, Raina M. Rogoza, MSc, Ming-Hui Tai, MSc, PhD, and Todd Anderson, MD  MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response:
  • Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada (and worldwide). Despite the established benefits of treatment with statins, most Canadians fail to achieve dyslipidemia targets (a risk factor for ASCVD).
  • The objective of this study was to examine current treatment patterns of lipid-lowering therapies for the management of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in patients with ASCVD.
  • This was a retrospective cohort study conducted using province-wide administrative health data from Alberta, Canada. Datasets used included health services, pharmaceutical, and laboratory data, in addition to the Alberta population registry. The study population consisted of individuals aged 18 years or older diagnosed with ASCVD between 2011-2015, based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes. The cohort was then restricted to individuals with an initial (index) LDL-C measurement after ASCVD diagnosis and at least one year of pre-index data and one year of follow-up data.
Amgen, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Lipids, UCLA / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_25325" align="alignleft" width="160"]Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, FACC, FAHA Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science Director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center Co-Chief of Clinical Cardiology, UCLA Division of Cardiology Co-Director, UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1679 Dr. Gregg Fonarow[/caption] Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, FACC, FAHA Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science Director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center Co-Chief of Clinical Cardiology, UCLA Division of Cardiology Co-Director, UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Last year, Amgen made the PCSK-9 inhibitor evolocumab available at a reduced list price of $5,850 per year This 60% reduction was aimed at improving patient access by lowering patient copays, especially for Medicare beneficiaries. Additionally, the treatment landscape for PCSK9 inhibitors was further defined in 2018 when the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Multisociety Clinical Guideline on the Management of Blood Cholesterol recommended PCSK9 inhibitors for, among other patient populations, patients with very high-risk (VHR) ASCVD whose low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels remain at 70 mg/dL or more  despite a heart-healthy lifestyle and treatment with standard background therapy.
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Duke, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, JAMA / 30.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49440" align="alignleft" width="133"]Thomas J. Povsic, MD, PhDInterventional CardiologistDuke Clinical Research InstituteDuke University School of MedicineDurham, North Carolina  Dr. Povsic[/caption] Thomas J. Povsic, MD, PhD Interventional Cardiologist Duke Clinical Research Institute Duke University School of Medicine Durham, North Carolina  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: The background for this study is that it is unknown how mandatory reporting of CYP2C19 metabolizer status affects how doctors treat patients or to what degree provision of this information would affect choice of a P2Y12 inhibitor within a clinical trial. As part of the GEMINI-ACS trial, all patients underwent CYP2C19 metabolizer testing.  This trial enrolled patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome and randomized them to aspirin or a low dose of rivaroxaban.  All patients were also to be treated with ticagrelor or clopidogrel, which was at the discretion of the investigator.  Investigators were given information regarding the CYP2C19 metabolizer status about a week after randomization.  Importantly prior to randomization, all investigators were asked how they expected to use this information, and then we followed what they actually did.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Lipids / 28.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49391" align="alignleft" width="133"]Samia Mora, MD, MHSAssociate Physician, Brigham and Women's HospitalAssociate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical SchoolBrigham and Women's HospitalDepartment of MedicinePreventive MedicineBoston, MA 02115  Dr. Mora[/caption] Samia Mora, MD, MHS Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine Preventive Medicine Boston, MA 02115  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Lipid testing plays a major role in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk screening, prediction, and treatment. In the past decade, several pivotal studies (including the Women’s Health Study, the Copenhagen City Heart Study, and the Copenhagen General Population Study) compared populations of individuals who had fasting lipid testing with populations of individuals who had nonfasting lipid testing, and found that non-fasting lipids were at least as good as fasting lipids in cardiovascular risk screening and predicting CVD risk. To date, however, no study has examined the cardiovascular predictive value of lipids measured on the same individuals who had both fasting and nonfasting lipid testing. This is important because individual-level variability in fasting versus nonfasting lipids may not be captured when looking at population-level risk associations, and evidence from randomized studies is lacking. Furthermore, it is unclear whether substituting nonfasting lipids would misclassify cardiovascular risk for individuals who may be eligible for statin therapy.
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lipids, Pediatrics / 22.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49239" align="alignleft" width="148"]Amanda Marma Perak, MD, MSAssistant Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) and Preventive Medicine Dr. Marma Perak[/caption] Amanda Marma Perak, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Cardiology) and Preventive Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Blood cholesterol is a critical initiator of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries that can lead to heart attack in adulthood. It is well established that these changes in the blood vessels occur already in childhood. Thus, it is important to know the status of cholesterol levels in youth to inform public health efforts aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease in the population. In the US there have been changes in childhood obesity prevalence (which may worsen cholesterol levels), the food supply (such as reduction of trans fats which may improve cholesterol levels), and other factors in recent years. We therefore designed a study to examine trends in cholesterol levels among youth in recent years.
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Gastrointestinal Disease, Johns Hopkins, Lipids / 09.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_49043" align="alignleft" width="178"]Rajesh Kumar NV, Ph.D.Affiliation during the study:Senior Manager, Human Therapeutics Division,Intrexon Corporation, Germantown, MD, USA Dr. Rajesh Kumar NV[/caption] Rajesh Kumar NV, Ph.D. Affiliation during the study: Senior Manager, Human Therapeutics Division, Intrexon Corporation, Germantown, MD, USA Current affiliation: Translational Research Program Manager, Oncology Drug Discovery, Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD,   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Clostridium difficile infection is the most frequent form of colitis in hospitals and nursing homes and affects millions of patients in the United States and abroad. Clostridium difficile associated disease (CDAD) is a global public health challenge where even mild to moderate infections at times can quickly progress to a fatal disease if not treated promptly. OG253 is a novel lantibiotic in development for the treatment of CDAD. Lantibiotics are antimicrobial peptides whose chemical structure includes a bridge maintained by the non-canonical amino acid lanthionine. The primary objective of our study was to evaluate the repeated dose toxicokinetics and any possible side effects of OG253 as enteric-coated capsules following daily oral administrations of three different doses (6.75, 27 and 108 mg/day) for a single day or seven consecutive days in both genders of rats. An enteric-coated capsule of OG253 was formulated in an attempt to circumvent the proteolytic degradation of OG253 in the upper digestive tract and specifically deliver this lantibiotic to the distal portion of the small intestine.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 25.04.2019

[caption id="attachment_48766" align="alignleft" width="130"]Florian Kronenberg Dr. Kronenberg[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Florian Kronenberg, MD Division of Genetic Epidemiology Department of Medical Genetics, Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lp(a) is one of the most prevalent lipoprotein risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Roughly 20% of the general Caucasian population have concentrations above 50 mg/dL and the 10% with the highest concentrations have a 2 to 3-fold increased risk for myocardial infarction. There is strong evidence from genetic studies that high Lp(a) concentrations are causally related to cardiovascular outcomes. Until recently there was no drug available which lowers Lp(a) without any effects on other lipoproteins. This has recently changed by the development of drugs that block the production of Lp(a) in an impressive way. These drugs have to be studied in randomized controlled trials whether they not only lower Lp(a) concentrations but also cardiovascular outcomes. For the planning of such studies it is crucial to estimate the amount of Lp(a) lowering required to show a clinical benefit.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Inflammation, JACC, Lipids / 18.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47835" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. George Dangas MD PhDProfessor of Medicine, CardiologyMount Sinai Health System Dr. Dangas[/caption] Dr. George Dangas MD PhD Professor of Medicine, Cardiology Mount Sinai Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Widespread use of statins targeted to decrease levels of low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) below 70mg/dL are recommended by guidelines. However, residual cholesterol risk may only be one part of the residual risk equation. Indeed, Biological inflammation has long been known as a pathophysiological mechanism of atherosclerosis and the recent CANTOS trial opened new therapeutic perspective by demonstrating that inflammation modulation via selective interleukin-1β inhibition could result in improved diagnosis in patients with coronary artery disease. However, the prevalence and impact of a residual inflammatory biological syndrome in patients with controlled cholesterol risk is unclear.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids, NEJM, Statins / 13.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47926" align="alignleft" width="133"]Brian A Ference, MD, MPhil, MSc, FACC, FESCProfessor and Director of Research in Translational TherapeuticsExecutive Director, Centre for Naturally Randomized TrialsStrangeways Research LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridge, UK Dr. Ference[/caption] Brian A Ference, MD, MPhil, MSc, FACC, FESC Professor and Director of Research in Translational Therapeutics Executive Director, Centre for Naturally Randomized Trials Strangeways Research Laboratory University of Cambridge Cambridge, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Bempedoic acid is a novel therapy currently in development that lowers LDL-C by inhibiting ATP-citrate lyase, an enzyme in the same cholesterol biosynthesis pathway as HMG-CoA reductase (the target of stains).  However, whether lowering LDL-C by inhibiting ATP-citrate lyase will reduce the risk of cardiovascular events to the same extent as lowering LDL-C by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase with a statin is unknown. We conducted a “naturally randomized trial” using Mendelian randomization in more than 650,000 participants who experienced more than 100,000 cardiovascular events to evaluate the potential clinical benefit of lowering LDL-C by inhibiting ATP-citrate lyase as compared to lowering LDL-C by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Imperial College, Lipids, NEJM, Statins / 13.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47863" align="alignleft" width="187"]Prof. Kosh Ray, MB ChB, MD, MPhil Faculty of Medicine, School of Public HealthChair in Public Health (Clinical)Imperial College London Dr. Ray[/caption] Prof. Kosh Ray, MB ChB, MD, MPhil Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health Chair in Public Health (Clinical) Imperial College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Bempedoic acid is the first in class of a new therapy for lowering LDL cholesterol. This is the largest and longest study to date with this therapy and involved about 2200 pts with patients with either established cardiovascular disease or familial hypercholestrolaemia and in whom LDL was > 70mg/dl or 1.8 mmol/L despite maximally tolerated statins. %0% were on high intensity statins and the majority of the rest on moderate intensity. The aim was to show long term safety 1 year and efficacy at 24 weeks and at 1 year. 
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Statins / 08.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fariba Ahmadizar, PharmD, MSc, PhD Department of Epidemiology Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Several observational studies and trials have already reported an increased risk of incident type 2 diabetes in subjects treated with statins; however, most of them lack details, meaning that there were limited studies on the association of statin use with glycemic traits. Studies on this association underestimated type 2 diabetes incident cases due to including either questionnaire-based data, short follow-up time or lack of a direct comparison between different statin types, dosages and duration of use with respect to diabetes-related outcomes.
Author Interviews, Columbia, Nutrition / 04.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47779" align="alignleft" width="200"]Sonia Y. Angell, MD MPHDivision of General MedicineDepartment of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical CenterNew York, NY   Dr. Angell[/caption] Sonia Y. Angell, MD MPH Division of General Medicine Department of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center New York, NY   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Trans fatty acid in the diet increases the incidence of coronary heart disease in the population. In 2006, a policy restricting restaurant use of trans fat went into effect in NYC. This study measured the change in trans fatty acid serum concentration among a representative sample of the NYC population between 2004 and 2013-2014, and whether the change varied by frequency of restaurant food dining. Overall, blood trans fatty acid serum concentration went down by 57%. Among people who dined out less than one time a week, it went down 51% and in those who dined out 4 or more times a week, it went down 61.6%.  In fact, in 2013-2014 there was no longer a significant increase in the serum trans fatty acid concentrations among those who ate restaurant foods frequently compared with those who ate out rarely. 
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Lipids, Pharmacology / 04.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46264" align="alignleft" width="100"]Prof. Dr. Milo Puhan Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute University of Zurich Prof. Puhan[/caption] Prof. Dr. Milo Puhan Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute University of Zurich MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The use of statins for primary cardiovascular prevention is controversial and there is a debate at what risks statins provide more benefits than harms. Current guidelines recommend statins if the 10 year risk for cardiovascular events is above 7.5 to 10% and they do not distinguish between men and women, different age groups and different statins. We found in our study that the benefits of statins exceeds the harms if the 10 year risk for cardiovascular events is above 14% for middle aged mean (40-44 years) but even higher for older age groups, and women. In addition, the benefit harm balance varies substantially between different statins with atorvastatin providing the best benefit harm balance.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Weight Research / 09.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Compare-the-Use-of-Carbohydrates-and-Lipids-in-Energy-Storage" by Zappys Technology Solutions is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kirsi-Marja Zitting, Ph.D. Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders Departments of Medicine and Neurology Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study is a follow-up study to our previous study where we found that chronic insufficient sleep together with chronic jet lag is associated with adverse changes in metabolism, including increase in blood sugar levels (Buxton et al. Science Translational Medicine, 2012). The present study focuses on the influence of the time of day on metabolism, which has not been investigated in humans independent of the effects of sleep, physical activity and diet.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 20.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44601" align="alignleft" width="150"]Luca A. Lotta, MD, PhD Senior Clinical Investigator MRC Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge Dr. Lotta[/caption] Luca A. Lotta, MD, PhD Senior Clinical Investigator MRC Epidemiology Unit University of Cambridge MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Drugs that enhance the breakdown of circulating triglycerides by activating lipoprotein lipase (LPL) are in pre-clinical or early-clinical development.
  • It is not known if these drugs will reduce heart attacks or diabetes risk when added to the current first line therapies (statins and other cholesterol-lowering agents).
  • Studying this would require large randomised controlled trials, which are expensive (millions of GBPs) and time-consuming (years).
  • Human genetic data can be used to provide supportive evidence of whether this therapy is likely to be effective by “simulating” a randomised controlled trial.
  • Our study used naturally occurring genetic variants in the general population (study of ~400,000 people) to address this.
  • Individuals with naturally-lower cholesterol due to their genetic makeup were used as model for cholesterol-lowering therapies (eg. Statins).
  • Individuals with naturally-lower triglycerides due to genetic variants in the LPL gene were used as model for these new triglyceride-lowering therapies.
  • We studied the risk of heart attacks and type 2 diabetes in people in different groups.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 03.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43627" align="alignleft" width="200"]Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH  Chairman | TIMI Study Group  Lewis Dexter, MD, Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital  Professor of Medicine | Harvard Medical School Dr. Marc Sabatine[/caption] Marc S. Sabatine, MD, MPH Chairman | TIMI Study Group Lewis Dexter, MD, Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Professor of Medicine | Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The initial statin trials studied patients with high levels of LDL-C, and showed a benefit by lowering LDL-C. We and others did studies in patients with so-called “average” levels of LDL-C (120-130 mg/dL), and also showed clinical benefit with lowering.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids, Menopause, University of Pennsylvania, Women's Heart Health / 19.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36295" align="alignleft" width="160"]Samar R. El Khoudary, PhD, MPH, BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor, Epidemiology PITT Public Health Epidemiology Data Center University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 15260  Dr. El Khoudary[/caption] Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is based on the current measurements used to determine cardiovascular disease risk in postmenopausal women. Higher levels of HDL “good cholesterol” as measured by the widely available clinical test, HDL-Cholesterol, may not always be indicative of a lower risk of cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. HDL is a family of particles found in the blood that vary in sizes, cholesterol contents and function. HDL particles can become dysfunctional under certain conditions such as chronic inflammation. HDL has traditionally been measured as the total cholesterol carried by the HDL particles, known as HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol, however, does not necessarily reflect the overall concentration, the uneven distribution, or the content and function of HDL particles. We looked at 1,138 women aged 45 through 84 enrolled across the U.S. in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a medical research study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). MESA began in 1999 and is still following participants today. We assessed two specific measurements of HDL: the number and size of the HDL particles and total cholesterol carried by HDL particles. Our study also looked at how age when women transitioned into post menopause, and the amount of time since transitioning, may impact the expected cardio-protective associations of HDL measures. Our study points out that the traditional measure of the good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, fails to portray an accurate depiction of heart disease risk for postmenopausal women. We reported a harmful association between higher HDL cholesterol and atherosclerosis risk that was most evident in women with older age at menopause and who were greater than, or equal to, 10 years into post menopause. In contrast to HDL cholesterol, a higher concentration of total HDL particles was associated with lower risk of atherosclerosis. Additionally, having a high number of small HDL particles was found beneficial for postmenopausal women. These findings persist irrespective of age and how long it has been since women became postmenopausal. On the other hand, large HDL particles are linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease close to menopause. Women are subject to a variety of physiological changes in their sex hormones, lipids, body fat deposition and vascular health as they transition through menopause. We are hypothesizing that the decrease of estrogen, a cardio-protective sex hormone, along with other metabolic changes, can trigger chronic inflammation over time, which may alter the quality of HDL particles. Future studies should test this hypothesis. The study findings indicate that measuring size and number of HDL particles can better reflect the well-known cardio-protective features of the good cholesterol in postmenopausal women.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 21.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42545" align="alignleft" width="135"]Dr. Stephen Burgess PhD Programme Leader at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit University of Cambridge Dr. Burgess[/caption] Dr. Stephen Burgess PhD Programme Leader at the Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit University of Cambridge MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Lipoprotein(a) is a lipoprotein subclass, and an important biomarker for coronary heart disease. As a clinical biomarker, it has a similar story to LDL-cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), in that it is thought to be a causal risk factor for coronary heart disease, and so is a potential target for drug development. However, while drugs that lower LDL-cholesterol, such as statins, have been successful in reducing coronary heart disease risk, drugs that lower lipoprotein(a) have not as yet been successful. New drugs are currently in development that specifically target lipoprotein(a) and can lower lipoprotein(a) concentrations by 80-90%. We performed this study to investigate whether these drugs are likely to be successful in reducing coronary heart disease risk. We compared individuals with naturally-occurring genetic variants that predispose them to a higher or lower lifetime concentration of lipoprotein(a) as a way of mimicking a randomized controlled trial. This approach has previously been undertaken for other biomarkers, including LDL-cholesterol. We found that having 10mg/dL lower genetically-predicted concentration of lipoprotein(a) was associated with a 5.8% reduction in coronary heart disease risk. However, associations between genetically-predicted LDL-cholesterol and coronary heart disease risk are quantitatively much stronger than the proportional effect of LDL-cholesterol lowering on coronary heart disease risk as estimated by statin trials. This is because differences in genetic variants reflect lifelong changes in LDL-cholesterol, whereas statin trials only lower LDL-cholesterol for a few years. Hence, using the ratio between the genetic and trial estimates for LDL-cholesterol, we estimate that lowering lipoprotein(a) by 10mg/dL in a short-term clinical trial would only reduce coronary heart disease risk by 2.7%. To obtain the same reduction in coronary heart disease risk of around 20% as observed in statin trials, lipoprotein(a) would have to be lowered by around 100mg/dL. This explains why previous trials of less specific and less potent lipoprotein(a)-lowering drugs have failed to demonstrate benefit.
Author Interviews, Duke, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Statins / 14.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42369" align="alignleft" width="156"]Michael G. Nanna, MD Fellow, Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC Dr. Nanna[/caption] Michael G. Nanna, MD Fellow, Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know that African Americans are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease than white patients. We also know that African American individuals have been less likely to receive statin therapy compared to white individuals in the past. However, the reasons underlying these racial differences in statin treatment are poorly understood. We set out to determine if African American individuals in contemporary practice are treated less aggressively than whites and, if so, we wanted to investigate potential reasons why this might be the case.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids, Vanderbilt / 18.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41816" align="alignleft" width="161"]Wei-Qi Wei, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Informatics Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203 Dr. Wei-Qi Wei[/caption] Wei-Qi Wei, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Informatics Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study was motived by the clinical observation that some patients develop coronary heart disease events despite taking statins, one of our most effective drugs to reduce cardiovascular risk. We collected data within the eMERGE network of people taking statins and monitored them for development of coronary heart disease events over time.  We  conducted a genome-wide association study of those with events compared to those without events. Our results showed that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the LPA gene were associated with a significantly increased risk of coronary heart disease events. Individuals with the variant were 50% more likely to have an event. More importantly, even among patients who achieved ideal on-treatment LDL cholesterol levels (<70 mg/dL), the association remained statistically significant. We then did a phenome-wide association study to see if other diseases or conditions were associated with these LPAvariants. The major associated conditions were all cardiovascular. This sort of study can highlight potential other indications for a drug targeting this pathway and suggest potential adverse events that might be experienced from targeting this pathway. Clearly, more and larger studies will be needed to truly understand the potential risks and benefits of a future drug targeting this pathway. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 17.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41237" align="alignleft" width="142"]Dr. Jennifer Robinson, MD MPH professor of epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health. CREDIT Tom Langdon Dr. Robinson[/caption] Dr. Jennifer Robinson, MD MPH Professor, Departments of Epidemiology & Medicine Director, Prevention Intervention Center Department of Epidemiology University of Iowa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Compared to previous placebo-controlled statin trials, the FOURIER trial where all patients were on high or moderate intensity statin, had no reduction in cardiovascular or total mortality and the reduction in cardiovascular events was less than expected.  However, other PCSK9 inhibitor trials performed in populations with higher baseline low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) had cardiovascular risk reductions similar to that in the statin trails.
Author Interviews, Infections, Lipids / 11.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41124" align="alignleft" width="150"]Børge G. Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc Professor, University of Copenhagen Chief Physician, Dept. Clinical Biochemistry Herlev and Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark Prof. Nordestgaard[/caption] Børge G. Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc Professor, University of Copenhagen Chief Physician, Dept. Clinical Biochemistry Herlev and Gentofte Hospital Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For decades research into the role and function of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) has revolved around the believe that HDL protects against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. However, results from large genetic studies and from large randomized clinical trials with HDL cholesterol elevating drugs have all indicated that there is no causal association between HDL cholesterol and risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Given the hitherto strong focus on cardiovascular disease, little is known about the possible role of HDL in other aspects of human health and disease. Preclinical evidence has indicated that HDL might be of importance for normal function of the immune system and susceptibility to infectious disease, but it had never previously been investigated if levels of HDL cholesterol is associated with the risk of infectious disease in individuals from the general population. In the present study we tested this hypothesis in more than 100.000 Danes from the population at large.
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids / 14.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39282" align="alignleft" width="132"]Borge G. Nordestgaard, Borge G. Nordestgaard[/caption] Børge G. Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc Department of Clinical Biochemistry Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Denmark MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Five major organizations recently published guidelines for using statins to prevent atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease  -- the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) in 2013, the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in 2014, and in 2016 the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS), the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), and the European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society (ESC/EAS). We applied these five guidelines to a contemporary study cohort of 45,750 40-75 year olds from the Copenhagen General Population Study.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lipids, Sanofi / 29.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38586" align="alignleft" width="143"]Dr. Jay Edelberg VP Head of CV Development and Head Global CV Medical Affairs Dr. Edelberg[/caption] Dr. Jay Edelberg MD, PhD VP Head of CV Development and Head Global CV Medical Affairs Sanofi  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) are often not able to achieve their target low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, and some may require lipoprotein apheresis (LA) to lower their “bad cholesterol.” Apheresis is a procedure similar to kidney dialysis, where bad cholesterol is mechanically removed from the blood. It is an invasive, expensive, and time-consuming treatment for patients, as well as physicians. The Phase III ESCAPE clinical study looked at the potential effect of LA on total Praluent, free and total PCSK9 concentrations, as well as the combined pharmacodynamics effect of total Praluent on LDL-C-lowering. Praluent levels remained unaffected by apheresis, and Praluent consistently suppressed free PCSK9 levels in patients with HeFH, regardless of LA treatment. This analysis further confirms clinical ESCAPE data that Praluent can be used in conjunction with LA and may reduce or potentially eliminate the need for LA in some patients.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Lipids / 19.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38369" align="alignleft" width="125"]Gokhan S. Hotamisligil MD PhD Dr. Hotamisligil[/caption] Gokhan S. Hotamisligil MD PhD J.S. Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism Chair, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases Department of Nutrition Harvard Stem Cell Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cholesterol is often considered a ‘bad’ nutrient, as it has been strongly linked to a cluster of metabolic diseases. In reality however, cholesterol is absolutely vital for the health of all animal cells, serves as an essential building block for all membranes and precursor for essential molecules.  It usually only becomes toxic when cells are exposed to high levels or free forms of cholesterol or when it is stored in excess. The reasons why cholesterol over-accumulates or causes excessive damage in cells of some people is not entirely clear, as cells are normally should be able to remove such excesses, and there remains key mechanistic gaps in our understanding of how cells control the molecular process of sensing excess cholesterol, engage ways of removal and launch countermeasures to defend their integrity. Filling this gap may reveal a new path toward alleviating the burden of cholesterol-related diseases. To this end, we identified a new signal pathway mediated by a protein called Nrf1, which enables cells to know when to remove cholesterol, thereby preventing excess cholesterol storage. We show that Nrf1 directly senses cholesterol in a strategic subcellular compartment called the endoplasmic reticulum and coordinates an adaptive and defensive responses that protects the cells and promotes the removal of cellular cholesterol.
Author Interviews, Columbia, Heart Disease, Lipids / 13.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36944" align="alignleft" width="107"]VP Head of Cardiovascular Development and Head Global Cardiovascular Medical Affairs Sanofi Dr. Edelberg[/caption] Dr. Jay Edelberg MD, PhD VP Head of Cardiovascular Development and Head Global Cardiovascular Medical Affairs Sanofi  MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from the data that Sanofi and Regeneron is presenting at ESC Congress 2017?    Response: This year at European Society of Cardiology (ESC,) we are pleased to present analyses that further demonstrate additional efficacy and tolerability of Praluent (alirocumab). While statins remain the first-line treatment, Praluent has shown a consistent benefit as an additional therapy to high-intensity statins in patients with clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and/or heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), allowing many patients to achieve low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels previously considered unattainable in this patient population. Our data further emphasize the need for additional cholesterol-lowering options in these high cardiovascular (CV) risk patient populations, including individuals living with diabetes 
Author Interviews, Lipids, Psychological Science / 12.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36941" align="alignleft" width="132"]Jiah Yoo Ph.D. Student in Social Psychology University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI 53706  Jiah Yoo[/caption] Jiah Yoo Ph.D. Student in Social Psychology University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI 53706  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A growing number of studies have shown that positive emotions predict better physical health. However, a caveat of these findings is that most studies have been conducted with Western samples. As cultural psychologists, we have learned that European American cultural contexts are particular in that positive emotions are highly valued and emphasized. For example, in East Asian cultures, it is a commonly shared view that positive emotions have some dark sides such as that they are fleeting, may attract unnecessary attention from others, and can be a distraction from focusing on important tasks. Given the cultural differences in emotions, we thought it would be important to test whether the established link between positive emotion and enhanced physical health are relevant to other cultural contexts, such as those in East Asia. We focused on blood lipids profiles, one of the major risk factors for heart diseases, as objective measures of health. Because of the global prevalence of coronary artery diseases, blood lipids are considered important indices of biological health in many Western and East Asian countries. In addition, blood lipids are largely influenced by lifestyles and behavioral factors so we further tested the role of various health behaviors (i.e., dietary habits, body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption) in the lipids-emotion link in different cultures.